Hearts are bleeding and tears are flowing all over the world. The quake that hit Haiti the other day is something that no one can ignore, and anyone who is able to help out in whatever way is doing something. Japan as a country has been quick to respond as well.
Yesterday, the Japanese government pledged the huge amount of five million dollars. With the help of the various agencies of the United Nations, Japan aims to be able to distribute the money properly in order to help out the victims of the quake, which is reported to have killed over a 100,000 people.
On top of this pledged sum, the Japanese government is also planning on sending relief goods that are desperately needed by the people of Haiti. These good include food and tents and are estimated to be worth more than $300,000.
More than this, Japan also plans to send teams to assess the situation in terms of medical needs. If the plans were followed, there may very well be a Japanese team in Haiti as of this writing.
We all know how prone Japan is to earthquakes. In fact, of all the major earthquakes that occur in the world, Japan probably gets the largest number. As such, they have always been quick to lend a helping hand to those who are in need.
For those of you who want to help out, get in touch with your nearest Red Cross office and find out what you can do.
Posted January 15th, 2010 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
Eccentricities and peculiarities aside, the Japanese people are known to be among the hardest working in the world. As a result, they have been rewarded with wealth, especially when compared to other countries. For decades upon decades, poverty as other nations have experienced it was unknown to the Japanese people; and whatever poverty they had in their shores, they were able to deal with in their own way.
With the global economic problems that have been prevailing, however, it seems that Japan is now being forced to adapt a different perspective. Recession has hit the Japanese economy â€“ something which was quite unthinkable for a lot of the people, I think.
The Japanese government has released figures regarding their unemployment rate: a rise of 0.4 percentage to 4.8%. This is the fastest increase since 1967.
In the past, the Japanese generally saw poverty as stemming from laziness and the lack of motivation. Today, however, with even the biggest companies letting go of so many employees, the general population are seeing that poverty can suddenly hit even the most hardworking person in the face.
The government is responding with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare at the helm. Activist Makoto Yuasa is finally being heard, as well. Yuasa has been lobbying for the government to work on providing safety nets against poverty for a long time, and it is only now that his efforts are paying off. While the situation is definitely not a happy thing, at least those that matter are paying attention now.
Posted May 17th, 2009 by Maki+ | Comments (3)
The uproar over swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, has been going on for days now. As current strain of flu virus originates from Mexico, people in Asia are not as exposed to risk as our western brothers. However, due to the ease of travel from any part of the world today, there really is no guarantee that the virus will not reach the farthest corners of the world.
Japan, in particular, might have its first case of swine flu. Bloomberg reports:
Japanâ€™s Health Minister Yoichi Masuzoe said a 17-year-old boy may be the countryâ€™s first swine-flu case.
The teenager, a high-school student from Yokohama, near Tokyo, visited the western Canadian province of British Columbia from April 10 to 25, according to public broadcaster NHK, which televised the news conference by Masuzoe this morning.
The youth underwent a medical checkup yesterday after coming down with a fever and cough. Preliminary tests suggested he may have swine flu, NHK reported.
The National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo is conducting additional tests to confirm the diagnosis, the report said.
With everyone as alert as they are at the moment, people arriving at international airports are scrutinized closely for any possible signs of flu. As a matter of fact, another woman arriving from Los Angeles was suspected to have the flu as well. After further tests, however, it turned out that she had another strain of flu.
While you are probably safe if you have not traveled to high risk areas or have no plans of traveling in the near future, it is always wise to employ good hygiene practices.
Posted May 3rd, 2009 by Maki+ | Comments (3)
Early this month we had a bit of good news with the gold found at the Suwa treatment facility, however, with the still grim economic situation trhoughout the world we shouldn’t be surprised that there is more bad news for Japan and those dabbling in the Japan market.
According to government reports last week showed that the Japanese economy for the last quarter has shrunk the most since the last big oil crisis of 1974. The week ended pretty weak as well with the Yen and stocks. The Yen is said to have fallen due to the Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa’s resignation. The Topix index also ended with a dismal record of having the lowest close in 25 years.
The government is doing its best to revive growth by focusing on selling more debt. There was a positive respones, which is the good news we end with, since the week ended with the highest 20-year bond yield (that means lots of people bought 20-year bonds) for the month. Of course people are still crossing their fingers hoping that when(or if?) the Japanese government’s 10 trillion yen stimulus plan is passed it will actually be effective in staving of the worst of this recession.
Posted February 26th, 2009 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
With the problems that we are encountering with fuel consumption and global warming, the best possible course for us to take would be sustainable source of power. We all know that solar power is one of the most feasible sources of energy and perhaps this is would be what the future holds for us. The Japanese government seems to think along the same lines.
Based on a report by Reuters:
The Japanese government will come up with measures on Tuesday to promote the household use of solar power systems by introducing subsidies and tax breaks from next year, the Nikkei financial daily reported on Sunday.
The paper said the steps, following an environment initiative announced earlier by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, include halving the cost of buying solar power systems in Japan, home to major solar component makers.
These include Sharp Corp, Kyocera Corp and Sanyo Electric Co.
This is really a good move by the government as the more people make use of solar power, less people will be using conventional power sources. I am sure that many of us would love to go solar but the costs of converting to this source are very high. But since the government is giving subsidies, I suppose that more people will be able to afford solar power.
Perhaps other countries in the West should study this example. It is never too early to start making use of more sustainable sources of power.
Photo courtesy of Rich_Lem
Posted June 22nd, 2008 by Maki+ | Comments (2)
We all know that Japan is one of the most earthquake prone countries in the world â€“ if not the most prone. As such, as much as Japan has to offer, one thing that would be sorely missing in its landscape are the high rise buildings that can be found in all of the worldâ€™s major cities. This is not to say that the Japanese have not tried their best in overcoming what nature has set for them. After all, the Japanese are not known for their immense capability to use technology for their benefit for nothing.
That is why as early as the 1960s, they started building their first ever high rise edifice. The Kasumigaseki Building is Japanâ€™s first skyscraper. The construction was started in 1965 and finished 3 years later, in 1968. This year, they are celebrating its 40th year in existence â€“ and rightly so. Located right smack in the middle of Tokyo, this skyscraper is the first Japanese building to exceed 100 meters. It has a total of 26 stories and currently houses most of the countryâ€™s cabinet offices.
As a matter of fact, the Kasumigaseki Building held the distinction of being the nationâ€™s tallest building for only several years â€“ till 1970. In this year, the World Trade Center Building was built, surpassing the milestone that the Kasumigaseki Building had set. One thing cannot be denied, however. The Kasumigaseki Building showcases the fighting spirit of the Japanese â€“ that they could work with what they have and overcome limitations that may seem daunting at first.
Posted April 12th, 2008 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
One of the most disturbing and definitely saddest facts about Japan is its high suicide rate. Many experts give different views about this phenomenon, but personally, whatever the reasons are, the alarmingly high number of lives lost in the country is very alarming and dampens Japan’s national spirit.
Today the Japanese government issued a statement about this subject, urging that there is a need to take on the issue as a society especially with the number of suicides exceeding 300,000 again for the ninth straight year. The World Health Organization actually ranks Japan as the country with the ninth highest number of suicide victims.
The announcement is part of the first counter suicide white paper that has been released this year. The governement is calling for more care for suicide survivors and support for the families who lost loved ones through suicide.
In its first “counter-suicide white paper” for 2007, the government recognized suicide as a death of a person driven to desperation and someone who is at the end of their rope and said it is necessary to provide care to survivors of suicide attempts as well as the bereaved families of those who have killed themselves. The white paper reflects the government’s concerns over the findings of the World Health Organization, which ranked Japan as the ninth highest in the world for the number of suicide victims per 100,000 persons.
Posted November 9th, 2007 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
Japan is famous for being a very safe place with its crime-free streets. Despite the presence of the infamous yakuza, which is responsible for organized crime in the country, ordinary Japanese citizens as well as foreign visitors used to enjoy a safe and quiet existence undisturbed by criminals. However the recent spate of gangster shootings which lead to the death of the beloved Mayor of Nagasaki, Itcho Ito, has pushed Japan to go for stricter gun-control guidelines.
According to the deputy chief cabinet secretary, Hakubun Shimomura, most of the guns that were confiscated were foreign made. Because of this foreign aircraft and ships will be required to report more detailed information regarding their cargo, passengers, and crew to the Japanese customs in hopes of decreasing the amount of smuggled guns into the country. In case any suspicious cargo are found customs are also required to carry out inspections as needed.
Posted July 26th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off
Japan has announced its intent to extend its sanctions against North Korea for another six months due to North Korea’s “insincere efforts to solve the abduction issue”. The abduction issue mentioned here refers to the 17 Japanese kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s. North Korea acknowledged the kidnapping of 13 of the Japanese citizens and returned 5 of the people in 2002 while claiming that the rest were dead. Japan wants North Korea to account for the 4 missing people as well as address its programs for disarmament.
So far the sanctions, which includes a ban on imports from North Korea, a ban on the entry of North Korean ships to Japanese ports, and a ban of entry of North Korean officials on Japanese soil, seems to have little effect on North Korea’s efforts towards the resolution of the abduction and disarmament issues.
Posted April 10th, 2007 by geisha+ | Comments Off